Intellectual property infringement and brand abuse are constant challenges for businesses and brands. Effective brand protection strategies help companies defend their brand’s reputation, customers, and revenue by preventing brand abuse.
What is Brand Protection?
Common Types of Brand Abuse
Unauthorized Use of Logos and Images
Unauthorized use of logos and images occurs when someone uses a trademark or logo without the owner’s permission. When a trademark or logo is used without the owner’s permission, it can confuse or trick customers about where the goods or services came from or who made them.
Counterfeiting is when someone makes, uses, or sells a fake version of a well-known brand or product that looks like the real thing. This is usually done with the intent of deceiving or cheating unsuspecting customers. Counterfeit products are usually lower-quality physical goods that cost less than the authentic product. But money, trademarks, logos, documents, and almost anything else of value or importance can be faked. Most counterfeits are sold and promoted online, and they can cost brands more than $500B each year.
Fake Websites & Social Media Accounts
Bad actors create fake websites and social media accounts by using a name, logo, design, or content that mimics the real brand. Whether they are created to sell fake goods, collect personal information, or spread malware, fake websites and social media accounts can lead to financial losses, legal problems, unhappy customers, and a decrease in trust. In fact, scams started on social media cost US consumers $1.2 billion in 2022.
When a protected work is used or copied without the owner’s permission, this is called copyright infringement. This includes copying, distributing, performing, putting on display, or making a work that is different from the original.
Trademark infringement occurs when your trademark is used without your permission. Wordmarks, logos, patterns, and geometric shapes are all common trademark representations.
Challenges of Brand Protection in the Digital Age
Online brand protection is more difficult now that we live in a digital age. With the rise of ecommerce sites, counterfeiters have found it easier to sell fake products online without being caught. Furthermore, social media has made it easier for bad actors to disseminate false information about a company’s products or services without being caught. And, as digital content such as images and videos have become more prevalent, it has become more difficult for businesses to keep track of how their intellectual property is being used online.
With each new step forward in technology, new risks and opportunities appear for businesses and their intellectual property. Businesses that don’t put brand protection at the top of their list of priorities can face huge problems in the future.
Developing a Brand Protection Strategy
As technology evolves and brand assets become more accessible, companies must protect their brand by continuously staying one step ahead of bad actors. When developing a brand protection strategy, here are four things brands should do to ensure that consumers’ brand interactions are authentic and safe.
One of the most important things you can do when trying to stop systemic brand abuse is to figure out what you want to happen in the end. Brand protection programs that work well focus on bad actors and infringements that do the most damage. By putting your enforcement efforts in order of importance, you can set clear goals, make benchmarks, and give each member of your brand protection team the right tasks.
Monitor and Protect Your Brand With Business Intelligence
You may need to do research on a global scale to find out if and how your products are being copied, which brand assets are affected by infringements, and so on. With the help of brand protection products, you can monitor your brand and gather business intelligence to identify potential threats and understand the risks they pose to your business. Your brand protection software will need to work across multiple digital channels, e-commerce platforms, and geographies. Your brand protection software should provide insights like:
- where your brand is being infringed online
- where your traffic is going
- which products are most affected
- what regions are most impacted
Gathering this kind of intelligence from your brand protection technology will be the cornerstone of your Brand Protection strategy and will help you to prioritize effectively.
Asses & Prioritize Brand Risks
It’s nearly impossible to police the world at large for brand infringements at all times. This is because one out of every three brand abuse instances are part of a larger network. To get the most out of your online brand protection solution, make a risk hierarchy and learn how each instance of brand abuse is linked to others across the digital universe. This will help you quickly find the largest networks. Finding these networks will help you figure out where you are most vulnerable and where you need to put your efforts. Prioritizing your efforts will better help you achieve the results you set when you established your program objectives.
Enforce Trademarks and Copyrights
Brand protection requires an action plan. After prioritizing brand risks, take preventative measures. Avoid the whack-a-mole approach by targeting organized networks of bad actors rather than individual infringements. Map brand abuse networks to identify the most complex ones and use that intelligence to devise a brand protection strategy to dismantle and disable them.
Finding and taking down brand abuse networks requires a new way of thinking that is fueled by cutting-edge brand protection technology and genuine expertise. Tracer built the industry’s only custom, brand protection AI solution with enhanced human intelligence that is designed to identify entire brand abuse networks by connecting infringements and bad actor behavior across multiple digital channels. Brand owners can then view a visual mapping of the abuse networks across the impacted channels to quickly identify the largest networks and disrupt them at their core, using our patent pending technology, Tracer Graph.